Court in the Bahamas issues arrest warrant for Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard


A judge in the Bahamas issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard, the latest turnaround in a strange and complicated legal battle over dredging around Nygard's luxury seafront property.

The warrant was issued after Nygard did not appear in court several times for a conviction hearing in connection with two counts of wrongdoing, after a judge found that he had repeatedly ignored a 2013 injunction that barred him from dredging.

Fred Smith, a lawyer at Save the Bays, an organization working to protect the country's marine environment from development, said he believed the arrest warrant was issued "in an effort to show that there should be due respect for the court in the Bahamas" . Save the bays claiming that Nygard has doubled the size of its property on Nygard Cay through illegal dredging, and is blocking the natural flow of sand to a nearby national park and a popular beach.

Winnipeg lawyer Jay Prober, one of Nygard's Canadian lawyers, told the Post that the arrest warrant was "unfairly unfair" and "totally unnecessary." He said Nygard was unable to attend Monday's hearing for medical reasons, but offered to attend a video conference. .

Nygard was convicted of contempt of court three times for ignoring the 2013 injunction. The first conviction led to a fine of $ 50,000 and an order to remove the excavated sand, a phrase Nygard is appealing. A sentence for the second and third convictions should be handed down this month, Smith said, but Nygard has repeatedly failed to appear in court and is not currently in the country.

On Monday, a Bahamian doctor filed a sworn statement stating that the 77-year-old man could not travel to the Bahamas because of health problems. According to the testimony, Nygard flew to Winnipeg on Friday, but upon landing he felt very dizzy and thought he was having a stroke. "I believe the preliminary decision of your doctors based in Canada to substantiate you in Canada is in the best interest of your health," wrote Dr. Lynwood Brown. "In particular, I believe that air pressure to fly more than 30,000 feet to reach the Bahamas can be fatal."

Smith said Nygard will be arrested if he returns to the Bahamas and plans to investigate the possibility of extraditing him. "The law has a long arm," he said. "Mr. Nygard is not above the law and his absence from the jurisdiction should not prevent the Supreme Court of the Bahamas from giving effect to an order for his appearance."

Prober said Nygard's team has already appealed the warrant and hopes it will be overturned. "He's not acting above the law," he said. "He is acting based on the doctor's recommendations that it can be fatal for him to travel."

Nygard Cay in the Bahamas, built in 1987.

Peter Nygård Global

The arrest warrant comes only a few months after Nygard's property was seized by the Bahamas court in September for failing to pay more than $ 3 million in legal fees owed to Save the Bays. Prober said Nygard paid the fees and took possession of his property again in November.

"Frankly, it's our position … that saving the bays and Fred Smith … are no longer concerned with environmental issues than flying to the moon," he said. "They are behind the costs."

The legal battle against dredging stems from a row of years ago between Nygard and his neighbor, hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon. The two adjacent properties at Lyford Cay, a gated community on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, and divergences between them have grown over the years, now encompassing more than a dozen lawsuits. Neither of them spend much time in the Bahamas.

Mr. Nygard is not above the law.

Bacon is a board member of Save the Bays, and Nygard is one of the organization's top targets. "Bacon's ultimate goal is to run Nygard from Nygard Cay so he can get his hands on the property," Prober said.

On Monday, Smith insisted that this case is about protecting the marine environment, and said that Nygard was ordered to return his estate to life-size. "This will end when Mr. Nygard complies with the demolition orders … to remove all illegal construction in the land of the Crown," he said.

Nygard was born in Finland and grew up in Winnipeg, where she founded her women's clothing company in 1967. Nygard International now has more than 170 stores in North America.

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